NHHC Underwater Archaeology Branch

NHHC Underwater Archaeology Branch UAB advises the Navy on all matters concerning underwater archaeology, preservation and management of United States Navy sunken military craft.
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The Underwater Archaeology Branch (UAB) of the Naval History & Heritage Command assists the Director of Naval History and the Department of the Navy in all matters related to the science of underwater archaeology and the identification, research, interpretation, preservation, conservation, inventory, and management of U.S. Navy's historic sunken military craft. UAB serves four main inter-related functions – Historic Preservation, Archaeological Research, Conservation and Curation, and Public Outreach. Historic Preservation: The UAB maintains a record of over 3,000 historic shipwrecks and 14,000 historic aircraft wrecks which often reflect key points in the nation’s history. Additionally, sunken military craft are often considered war graves, may contain unexploded ordnance, other sensitive weapons systems, or environmental contaminants. These sites therefore necessitate respect and should not be disturbed without authorization. The Navy's policy towards sunken military craft is to preserve them in situ. Sites that have reached chemical and physical equilibrium with their immediate underwater environment are subject to a substantially reduced deterioration rate. If disturbed, this deterioration rate accelerates and any recovered artifacts must undergo immediate conservation and long-term monitoring. While the Command prefers non-intrusive, in situ research on sunken military craft, it recognizes that disturbance and/or artifact recovery may become necessary and has therefore instituted an applicable permitting program. Site disturbance or artifact removal may be justified and necessary to protect the sunken military craft, to conduct research, or provide public education and information that is otherwise inaccessible. Archaeological Research: The overall research objective of the Branch is to interpret the Navy's experience by applying the science of archaeology on the Navy's sunken ship and aircraft wrecks. Through undertaking archaeological research, as well as encouraging external collaborations, the Branch has significantly contributed to the understanding of the Navy's and the nation's underwater cultural heritage. Non-intrusive surveys and wreck site documentation projects that have been performed by UAB include the 2002 survey for WWII wrecks off the coast of Normandy, the continuing search for Bonhomme Richard, flagship of John Paul Jones, in the North Sea, and the documentation and limited recovery of artifacts from shipwrecks of the Penobscot Expedition. UAB has also led in more extensive archaeological projects such as the recovery and study of the Civil War submarine H.L. Hunley. Conservation & Curation: The UAB maintains a well-equipped Archaeology & Conservation Laboratory at the Washington Navy Yard which applies conservation treatments and is the curation facility that maintains the US Navy's underwater archaeological artifact inventory. The Laboratory allows for the archaeological process to be brought to fruition and for the proper documentation, preservation, and study of submerged cultural resources. In order to broadly share the Navy’s maritime cultural heritage with the public and researchers, the Laboratory supervises an artifact loan program which allows for Navy-owned artifacts from submerged sites to be curated and displayed under the auspices of UAB at approved facilities nationally and internationally. Public Education: An important objective shared by the NHHC and the UAB is public outreach and education. To this effect, the Branch disseminates information, issues publications, and gives lectures to the Navy and the general public on underwater archaeology, conservation, history, and cultural resources management policy. Staff archaeologists also appear in a number of documentaries and other public media outlets. In addition, UAB offers regulated public access to the UAB Archaeology & Conservation Laboratory, and supports an extensive academic internship program aimed at upper-level undergraduate and graduate students.

Mission: The Naval History & Heritage Command's Underwater Archaeology Branch (UAB): - Acts as steward of the U.S. Navy's sunken military watercraft and aircraft, as well as their associated artifacts. - Serves as the primary means through which the Navy complies with federal laws and regulations applying to historic preservation and Navy underwater cultural resources. - Conducts archaeological research, administers conservation treatments to submerged Navy artifacts, and produces technical and popular reports on the results of their work. - Maintains an inventory of sunken military craft sites, monitors the condition of the resources, evaluates and issues permits for archaeological investigations on historic wrecks, submits nominations to the National Register of Historic Places, and advises the Director of Naval History on policy matters.

Operating as usual

Last week UA was in the Potomac River assisting the City of Alexandria and Alexandria Archaeology Museum with a survey. ...
11/23/2020

Last week UA was in the Potomac River assisting the City of Alexandria and Alexandria Archaeology Museum with a survey. This local opportunity provides UA a chance to test equipment and sea trials in preparation for the NAS Patuxent River historic aircraft survey. Stay tuned for more on that survey.

The Nautical Archaeology Society will be hosting lectures on maritime archaeology for those interested in learning about...
03/25/2020

The Nautical Archaeology Society will be hosting lectures on maritime archaeology for those interested in learning about archaeological projects from around the globe. This Monday's lecture is on the London wreck! See below for details.

We're excited to announce the very first #CovEDTalks presenter - our very own CEO Mark Beattie-Edwards ⭐️

For those of you who missed the Discover the London - Southend's Time Capsule event in Southend, this is your chance to get up to speed with the fascinating story of the London so far, and what its prospects are for the future.

In his talk, Mark will discuss the amazing wreck of the London, which blew up in the Thames Estuary in 1665. Protected in 2010 by Historic England the site is on the Heritage At Risk Register, due to the constant erosion that is taking place on the site as it lies so close to the commercial shipping channel.

Although two small scale excavations have taken place, the only work to save material from destruction currently being undertaken is by a small dedicated team of volunteer divers from the The London Shipwreck Trust. Mark will talk not only of work to date but will also talk about plans for the future to create a facility to house and display the site for the public.

Find out more about how you can get involved in the CovED webcast series on our website here: https://www.nauticalarchaeologysociety.org/coved-talks-weekly-webcast

03/17/2020
USS Constitution

Live now!

Join the crew aboard USS Constitution as they give a virtual tour!

Join us for a virtual tour of USS Constitution! We have two knowledgeable Sailors to answer your questions! Ask in the comment section!

Some really neat cultural resource internship opportunities with the Park Service with applications being taken until th...
01/21/2020

Some really neat cultural resource internship opportunities with the Park Service with applications being taken until the end of this week 1/24/2020. www.futureparkleaders.org

Internships opportunities for Summer 2020 are closing at the end of the week (1/24) don't miss your chance to apply!!! Valles Caldera National Preserve is seeking an #intern to focus on the development of a #geospatial model that assess cultural resources vulnerability on the landscape-scale. For more information visit www.futureparkleaders.org Photo Credit: Valles Caldera NPS
#applytoday
#internships
#summerinternship
#caldera
#cultural
#wildfire
#undergraduate
#gradschool
#nationalparkservice

Cool lecture celebrating the 60th anniversary of the Trieste's dive to Challenger Deep at the National Museum of the Uni...
01/14/2020

Cool lecture celebrating the 60th anniversary of the Trieste's dive to Challenger Deep at the National Museum of the United States Navy next thursday! If you are in DC please stop by. Info in the link. Friday the exhibit will highlight artifacts from Navy's deep underwater Archaeology sites.

Mark your calendars! The National Museum of the United States Navy is celebrating Trieste's 60th Anniversary of its visit to Challenger Deep on January 23rd at 10 a.m.

Learn more about Trieste's history here: https://www.history.navy.mil/browse-by-topic/exploration-and-innovation/bathyscaph-trieste.html

Earlier this month one of our Archaeological Conservators, Shanna Daniel, gave a presentation at the Web3D Naval Visuali...
12/20/2019

Earlier this month one of our Archaeological Conservators, Shanna Daniel, gave a presentation at the Web3D Naval Visualization Workshop at the Virginia Tech Research Center on the use of 3D modeling applications currently being used by Underwater Archaeology. Presentation in the link:https://www.web3d.org/sites/default/files/attachment/node/2435/edit/NHHC%20UA%20Presentation_Shanna%20Daniel.pdf

Earlier this month one of our Archaeological Conservators, Shanna Daniel, gave a presentation at the Web3D Naval Visuali...
12/20/2019

Earlier this month one of our Archaeological Conservators, Shanna Daniel, gave a presentation at the Web3D Naval Visualization Workshop at the Virginia Tech Research Center on the use of 3D modeling applications currently being used by Underwater Archaeology. Presentation in the link:

https://www.web3d.org/sites/default/files/attachment/node/2435/edit/NHHC%20UA%20Presentation_Shanna%20Daniel.pdf

There are 30+ Navy labs to choose from in the NREIP program. The application period for summer 2020 internships closes N...
10/01/2019
NREIP

There are 30+ Navy labs to choose from in the NREIP program. The application period for summer 2020 internships closes November 1st so be sure to apply! Want to know how your skills can apply to Underwater archaeology? Send us a message and chat with our maritime archaeologist and archaeological conservators!

https://nreip.asee.org/

#OTD in 2000 - After sinking 136 years earlier, the Confederate submarine H. L. Hunley was raised from the seabed near t...
08/08/2019

#OTD in 2000 - After sinking 136 years earlier, the Confederate submarine H. L. Hunley was raised from the seabed near the mouth of the harbor at Charleston, SC.

Learn more about the discovery, recovery, and restoration from the NHHC Underwater Archaeology Branch page below!

https://go.usa.gov/xyJBm

#OTD in 2000 - After sinking 136 years earlier, the Confederate submarine H. L. Hunley was raised from the seabed near the mouth of the harbor at Charleston, SC.

Learn more about the discovery, recovery, and restoration from the NHHC Underwater Archaeology Branch page below!

https://go.usa.gov/xyJBm

It's #bringyourkidtoworkday at the Washington Navy Yard! We're so happy to have all of you here.  As well as teaching ki...
04/25/2019

It's #bringyourkidtoworkday at the Washington Navy Yard! We're so happy to have all of you here. As well as teaching kids about Navy History through an archaeological dig activity and dive gear demenstration! Parents from the base also learned that the the Navy actually has an Underwater Archaeology unit! Just goes to show NHHC has a lot to offer and there is something for everyone. #history #navyhistory #usnavy #museum #funwithkids

It's #bringyourkidtoworkday at the Washington Navy Yard! We're so happy to have all of you here. Please tag us and we'll repost your pics all day long! #history #navyhistory #usnavy #museum #funwithkids

Naval History & Heritage Command
03/28/2019
Naval History & Heritage Command

Naval History & Heritage Command

Most are probably familiar with America's Ship of State, USS Constitution, but how much do you know about her five sister frigates?

Would you believe one ended up as part of a flour mill?!

The wreckage of USS Wasp (CV 7) has been located!Sunk in 1942, a team of researchers aboard RV Petrel located the World ...
03/14/2019
The Epic Hunt for a Lost World War II Aircraft Carrier

The wreckage of USS Wasp (CV 7) has been located!

Sunk in 1942, a team of researchers aboard RV Petrel located the World War II-era aircraft carrier at a depth of approximately 14,000 feet.

NHHC UA was fortunate enough to have researchers on board during this latest expedition as well to help with locating and documentation of the finds.

For more of the story, check out the article from The New York Times.

In 1942, a volley of torpedoes sent the U.S.S. Wasp to the bottom of the Pacific. For decades, the families of the dead wondered where in the lightless depths of the ocean the ship could possibly be. Earlier this year, a team of wreck hunters set out to find it.

While this piece is about the history of the Navy's Marine Mammal program, Navy Mammals have also contributed vastly to ...
03/13/2019
Marine Mammals: The Navy’s Super Searchers | U. S. Naval Undersea Museum

While this piece is about the history of the Navy's Marine Mammal program, Navy Mammals have also contributed vastly to underwarter archaeological research most notably in the find of Howell Torpedo back in 2013.

MARINE MAMMALS: THE NAVY’S SUPER SEARCHERS When the U.S. Navy needs to locate an object underwater, it calls on unusual allies: the dolphins and sea lions of the Navy Marine Mammal Program. Navy dolphins and sea lions can find undersea objects faster and better than human divers and undersea vehic...

RV Petrel announced the discovery of USS Strong, a WWII destroyer sunk on July 5, 1943. Read the story about how, with l...
02/26/2019

RV Petrel announced the discovery of USS Strong, a WWII destroyer sunk on July 5, 1943. Read the story about how, with less than a year of active service, the ship set a standard for initiative and toughness here --> http://usnhistory.navylive.dodlive.mil/2019/02/22/strong-crew-and-rescue-set-sailor-standards-for-initiative-and-toughness/?fbclid=IwAR2IAfkNMCWHpiyBbicmaMH5VZVHL5EBPUK65YLsY6YhakyQRYrHLsq6ydo

Sunk on the morning of July 5, 1943 by torpedoes from a group of destroyers led by the IJN Niizuki. It's said to be one of the longest torpedo shots of WWII. The Strong was a Fletcher class destroyer and is in 300 meters of water.

As a young Sailor, Richard Nowatzki served aboard USS Hornet (CV-8) through the commissioning, the famed Doolittle Raid,...
02/21/2019
The End of Hornet – Part 1

As a young Sailor, Richard Nowatzki served aboard USS Hornet (CV-8) through the commissioning, the famed Doolittle Raid, the Battle of Midway, and was aboard when Hornet was sunk near the island of Santa Cruz in 1942.

With the recent discovery of Hornet, join us as we dive into Nowatzki’s first-hand account as he shares his experiences in the extraordinarily brutal and dangerous environment of combat at sea.

Click the link below to read part one of his story.
Parts:2 & 3 to this story are on the NHHCs' main page.

As a 19-year-old seaman who had been in the Navy for about a year and a half, Richard Nowatzki's ship USS Hornet (CV 8) was mortally wounded in the intense

02/12/2019
Wreckage of World War II aircraft carrier USS Hornet discovered

I am sure a lot of you have been keeping up with the news this morning, but if you havn't R/V Petrel just announced finding aircraft carrier USS Hornet (CV-6). NHHC is looking forward to reviewing the data once it is made available.

Take a look:

The USS Hornet is best known for launching the important Doolittle Raid in April of 1942 and its role in winning the Battle of Midway

The Underwater Archaeology Branch at the Washington Navy Yard offers a variety of internship opportunities for students ...
01/17/2019
Internships

The Underwater Archaeology Branch at the Washington Navy Yard offers a variety of internship opportunities for students wanting to learn about Maritime archaeology and getting hands on experience in a federal archaeological program. Internships focus on four objectives which may include: Archaeological Research, Policy Development and Cultural Resource Management, Conservation and Curation, and Public Outreach.

Opportunities also exist through various programs such as NREIP, AAA internship, and PPIP. These highly competitive Internship programs are supported through academic and professional organizations in which NHHC has partnered with to provide "PAID or Allowanced" summer internships. For more information, feel free to message this post, pm, or visit each respective website below to learn more about a specific program, their application periods, and requirements.

-NHHC Internship: https://www.history.navy.mil/get-involved/internships.html
-NREIP: https://nreip.asee.org/ (applications open every August for an internship the following summer)
-AAA Internship: http://www.americananthro.org/LearnAndTeach/Content.aspx… (summer 2019 applications open January)
-PPIP: http://ppip.tamu.edu/Internships (Open to Texan A&M University students year round)
-Washington Seminar Program by Brigham Young University (Open year round to all students) http://washingtonseminar.byu.edu/

A few of these programs are paid or partially cover the cost of living in DC while interning so please apply! We get interns from across the globe which also creates a great networking opportunity for those looking at graduate studies in the US and abroad.

The NHHC offers internships to students who wish to have professional work experience in areas related to their educational programs and career goals. In addition to undertaking historical research, writing and editing, the NHHC operates the Navy Department Library, The National Museum of the United...

12/20/2018
USS Macon Airship wreckage

Ever wondered how the Navy used ridged airships, check out this video highlighting an artifact from one of our lesser known sites USS Macon.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xS9pa1UZZa8

USS Macon (ZRS 5), a U.S. Navy Akron-class rigid airship, sank on February 12, 1935 off the coast of California in what is now the Monterey Bay National Mari...

If you missed the lecture and want to view it later, it will soon be made available on AGU's youtube channel along with ...
12/11/2018
American Geophysical Union (AGU)

If you missed the lecture and want to view it later, it will soon be made available on AGU's youtube channel along with other interesting lectures from the conference.

https://www.youtube.com/user/AGUvideos/videos

The American Geophysical Union is a not-for-profit, professional, scientific organization with nearly 60,000 members representing over 139 countries. AGU adv...

12/10/2018
AGU Fall Meeting 2018

"What in the World Sank USS San Diego?"
Is the title of a presentation that Dr. Alexis Catsambis from NHHC Underwater Archaeology along with Dr. Art Trembanis from University of Delware and Dr. Ken Nahshon from Naval Surface Warefare Center will be presenting at the AGU (Advancing Earth and Space Science) Fall meeting in DC Tomorrow morning.

Tune in at 1100 EST to watch the live stream of the lecture on the link: http://live.projectionnet.com/AGUPress/FM2018.aspx

Related to our NAS Pax River historic aircraft survey.
11/01/2018
Naval History & Heritage Command

Related to our NAS Pax River historic aircraft survey.

#ICYMI: NHHC Underwater Archaeology Branch Archaeologist George Schwartz speaks with WBOC TV 16 Delmarva's News Leader about a recently discovered aircraft wreck near Chesapeake Bay.

Archaeological Tech position just opened up in NHHC's Underwater Archaeology Branch for those that are interested. Appli...
08/08/2018
ARCHAEOLOGICAL TECH

Archaeological Tech position just opened up in NHHC's Underwater Archaeology Branch for those that are interested. Applications are now open until August 17, 2018. Details in the link. Feel free to share!

https://www.usajobs.gov/GetJob/ViewDetails/507399100

You will serve as an Archeological Technician in the Collections Management Division; Underwater Archeological Branch (CODE 210) of NAVAL HISTORY AND HERITAGE COMMAND.

One of our own UA interns produced this storymap detailing the history of WWI-era armored cruiser USS San Diego. Today, ...
07/19/2018
Naval History & Heritage Command

One of our own UA interns produced this storymap detailing the history of WWI-era armored cruiser USS San Diego. Today, San Diego is being remembered with a wreath laying ceremony to commemorate those sailors lost during its sinking in 1918.

On July 19th, 1918, while en route from Portsmouth, New Hampshire, to New York, Captain Harley H. Christy had his crew in watch positions as the area was known to be a hunting ground for German submarines in search of allied shipping. Despite these measures, at 11:05 a.m. San Diego was rocked by an explosion on the port side below the waterline, immediately causing the ship to list to port. As the cruiser rapidly took on water the captain ordered the crew to abandon ship. Of a crew of 1,183, six Sailors were lost in the sinking.

In honor of this historic tragedy, we are sharing a story map detailing the life and legacy of San Diego and her crew. Click below!

The Underwater Archaeology Branch at the Washington Navy Yard offers a variety of internship opportunities for students ...
07/11/2018
Internships

The Underwater Archaeology Branch at the Washington Navy Yard offers a variety of internship opportunities for students wanting to learn about Maritime archaeology and getting hands on experience in a federal archaeological program. NHHC offers a year round internship with flexible schedules and opportunities to count towards college credit. Internships focus on four objectives which may include: Archaeological Research, Policy Development and Cultural Resource Management, Conservation and Curation, Public Outreach and Information Dissemination.

Opportunities also exist through various programs such as NREIP, AAA internship, and PPIP. These highly competitive internship programs are supported through academic and professional organizations in which NHHC has partnered with to provide summer internships. For more information, feel free to message this post, pm, or visit each respective website below to learn more about a specific program, their application periods, and requirements.

-NHHC Internship: https://www.history.navy.mil/get-involved/internships.html
-NREIP: https://nreip.asee.org/ (applications opening in August for summer 2019)
-AAA Internship: http://www.americananthro.org/LearnAndTeach/Content.aspx?ItemNumber=1658 (summer 2019 applications open January)
-PPIP: http://ppip.tamu.edu/Internships (Open to Texan A&M University students)

The NHHC offers internships to students who wish to have professional work experience in areas related to their educational programs and career goals. In addition to undertaking historical research, writing and editing, the NHHC operates the Navy Department Library, The National Museum of the United...

UA conservators have made significant progress on the conservation of the cannon suspected to be from the Naval Schooner...
04/12/2018
Conservators in Action: Uncovering Secrets of the Suspected Revenge Cannon – Part II

UA conservators have made significant progress on the conservation of the cannon suspected to be from the Naval Schooner Revenge. See the updates in the latest blog below:
http://usnhistory.navylive.dodlive.mil/2018/04/11/conservators-in-action-uncovering-secrets-of-the-suspected-revenge-cannon-part-ii/

By Shanna Daniel, Archaeological Conservator, Underwater Archaeology Branch, Naval History and Heritage Command Many have been waiting for an update from our last blog post about the ongoing efforts to conserve a cannon recovered from the suspected wreck site of the 14-gun U.S. naval schooner Reveng...

Address

805 Kidder Breese St SE
Washington D.C., DC
20374-5060

General information

The Underwater Archaeology Branch forms part of the Naval History & Heritage Command on the Washington Navy Yard, Washington D.C. The Branch maintains archives associated with sunken military craft and past archaeological investigations, facilitates research, as well as organizes visits to the Archaeology & Conservation Laboratory. For more information, please visit http://www.history.navy.mil/research/underwater-archaeology.html

Opening Hours

Monday 08:30 - 17:00
Tuesday 08:30 - 17:00
Wednesday 08:30 - 17:00
Thursday 08:30 - 17:00
Friday 08:30 - 17:00

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